AT this time that the year is rolling away, it is customary with people of sober minds and responsibility to make fresh resolutions aimed at guiding their actions, improving their habits and making the most of their lives in the New Year.
On this score, the message of the President of God’s Kingdom society (GKS), Brother E. T. Otomewo, to the Churches of Christ during the celebration of the Christian Feast of Tabernacles, which ended last Sunday, is very timely indeed. The message captioned, Beware of What You Sow in Life, provides enough recipe for everyone who reckons with God in his life, to make good resolutions.
Following is the full text of the message:
Members and Friends,
HAIL JEHOVAH AND CHRIST JESUS!
As I stated in my Freedom Day Message in October this year - particularly in the interest of the non-members who joined us in fellowship - we of the GKS, as of faith, HAIL JEHOVAH AND CHRIST JESUS instead of mortal men because it is They alone that can truly protect and save. - Psalm 3: 8; Jeremiah 17: 5,7; Isaiah 45: 22; Daniel 3: 28, 29; Acts 4: 10-12; Revelation 7: 9, 10. Some hailed Hitler, the dictator, during World War II, believing that he was their saviour. But he was unable to save them and so Jeremiah 17: 5 which says, "Cursed is the man that trusteth in man" fulfilled to a great extent on his blind followers. In our human dealings, we can trust or repose confidence in men who are sincere, honest and GODLY but in so far as deliverance or salvation is concerned, it is God alone through Jesus Christ that we who are Christians should look to. This is why we HAIL JEHOVAH AND CHRIST JESUS!
Why We Gather
Earlier, notice was given that as from December 15-22, the GKS and other believers in Christ would celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles all over the world. We are therefore assembled here this day for this purpose - that is, to celebrate the Christian Feast of Tabernacles.
Before dwelling on the subject of my Message for this occasion, let me just refresh your memories in short, of what the Feast is. It is a yearly festival ordained by Jehovah the Creator of the world. - Leviticus 23: 33-43. It is to be celebrated by every worshipper of God so that he may be protected and prospered. And the Jews did celebrate it as was ordained by God in those days.
When Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity, came he too celebrated it as an example for his disciples to follow, and that is why true Christians celebrate it today. - John 7: 1-18, 37, 38; 13: 15. And God had warned through Zechariah, His prophet, that the remnant of His people in this last day in which we live, should celebrate the Feast and that those who did not would be punished with plague. - Zechariah 14: 16-19. The foregoing scriptural authorities are clear enough, and they justify our celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles annually, by the grace of God.
Whatever a Man Soweth He Shall Reap
Now, let me turn to the topic of my message: "BEWARE OF WHAT YOU SOW IN LIFE". There are some people who think that man is in this world to do just what he likes until he quits it at death without giving account of his doings to anyone in this wicked world or in the new world hereafter. They do not believe in the perfect world of God that will soon take the place of this world which is ridden with wickedness. Some of them do not believe in God too! Therefore, they do all sorts of things - good and bad - to their fellow men without care or fear. But by so doing they are sowing seeds which shall grow in to kindred crops or trees, and the fruits of which they shall reap in a DETERMINED TIME that is as certain as day and night. In Proverbs 11: 19, 21, God used Solomon to say:
"As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death. Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered."
From the foregoing quote, it is clear that man, however powerful he may be, will certainly reap what he sows. And there are different ways we sow in this world. We sow by word of mouth and by our acts. If we say good things about God and His work, He takes note of them. He will bless us for so doing even now in this evil world, and fully and everlastingly in His perfect Kingdom of endless bliss. Those who do the opposite, He may punish now but more particularly in the age of the judgment of the dead.
Moreover, men also sow by word of mouth when they say kindly or unkindly things about other people. Those whom they say them about, may not be able to bless them or take vengeance but their children, relations or even friends may do so and, above all; God who impartially -distributes His blessings among the faithful and also punishes the wicked justly, will certainly act in His own appointed time.
In view of all this, reasonable and godly people know that by word of mouth and by action or deed-good or bad - they are sowing seeds which they - shall surely reap; and so they TAKE GREAT CARE in what they sow, that is, what they say or do to other people so that they may not reap the vengeance of ungodly men or that of God in the end. I say, "the vengeance of ungodly men" because it is the ungodly that revenge. No man is commissioned by God to take vengeance on his neighbour. The proper thing to do is to go to the law court, if one wishes, to seek redress. It is God alone that is to avenge and He Himself said, "Vengeance is mine." - Romans 12: 19.
Some people want to enjoy the good things of life at the expense of their neighbours. They steal from or cheat people to become rich; some acquire wealth, fame and power through oppression, mischief or some other forms of wickedness. In all this, such ones are sowing evil and will CERTAINLY REAP THE FRUITS THEREOF. Those who sow good will reap good and those who sow evil will reap evil. Yes, we shall reap WHATEVER we sow. As it is written:
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: FOR WHATSOEVER A MAN SOWETH, THAT SHALL HE ALSO REAP." – Galatians 6: 7.
Do not be carried away by your good status in life into talking carelessly and hurtfully to your neighbours. Do no harm to people by your acts. If you do, you shall reap the fruits thereof. You cannot run away from a mightier man than you, the Government of the day and, above all, God Himself, Who will make you EAT the bad fruits of what you sow!
I said earlier that we should not hurt people by word of mouth. But if you are lawfully placed in a position, spiritual or otherwise to rebuke and even to punish an evil-doer as a measure of discipline, it is understandable, and it does not matter whether the offender's or sinner's feelings are hurt or not. God will be pleased, and God-fearing, law-abiding men will appreciate it.
Haman and Jezebel
Every wicked person knows that he is wicked. His conscience pricks him when he does evil. He will certainly reap what he sows. Jezebel and Haman are ready instances. Jezebe1 sowed kindred evil seeds - she killed Naboth, ruled her husband contrary to God's law (Genenis 3: 16) and committed idolatry or spiritual fornication. Indeed, she reaped the fruit of her iniquity. She was thrown from a storey building down to death with her body dismembered; her spattered blood, dogs licked! What an in- glorious death for a queen! Yes, she reaped what she sowed. That was the reward of wickedness. - 1 Kings 21: 23, 24; 2 Kings 9: 30-37.
Haman also reaped enough of what he sowed. He conspired to kill innocent Jews and set the gallows ready for Mordecai who refused to bow to him because of his faith in God and obedience to His laws. He, Haman, reaped the fruit of his actions. It was he that was hanged instead. - Esther chapter 7; see also Psalm 7: 15, 16.
True Christians of today who know these things fear God and tremble at His word always. - Proverbs 16: 6; 1 Peter 3: 10-12.
If the beginning of one's life is good and prosperous, though by evil means, one should beware. The end may not be good with one. The beginning does not always dictate the end. There was the case of Thomas Paine, the agnostic. He was popular at a stage in his life but at the end he, like Jezebel and Haman, died an ignominious death - "practically deserted by his friends…broken-hearted, unnoticed, unrewarded and unsung"! - Vide the Morning Post, Tuesday, August 20, 1963. That was the end of a worldly intellectual who was an infidel that took pride in blasphemy by word of mouth, by' his pen, and by conduct. He reaped partially, of course, the fruit of his ungodliness in this evil world. I know of no report that he repented anti served Jesus Christ before he died. He shall therefore be judged by God during the resurrection of the unjust for his opposition to God's work. - Hebrews 9: 27; Acts 24: 15; Romans 14: 12; 2 Corinthians 5: 10.
Let us watch and guard against anything that will be detrimental to our end by sowing good seeds - either by word of mouth or by deeds - so that we may lead a life of contentment and reap peace, happiness and other good things from God in the end. But those who ignore this advice - whether they like it or not - will certainly reap the reward of their iniquities. As it is written:
“Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same." - Job 4: 8.
Finally, I exhort you to support the work of God always by all means at your disposal - your influence, your money, your wisdom with which God has blessed you, your substance and/or possessions and even your body. In so doing, you are sowing righteousness or sowing "to the Spirit", and you shall, by the grace and power of God, reap everlasting life in His perfect Kingdom as recorded in Galatians 6: 8. See also Proverbs 3: 9, 10.
I also exhort you to prove yourselves at all times as true Christians in your dealings with your fellow men. Deal with one and sundry in love and be at peace with your neighbours always as recorded in Romans 12: 17 and 18, to wit:
“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men."
May God be with us all until we meet again to celebrate the Feast in 1969 by His grace and power. And may the Feast of Tabernacles' blessings parabolically called "rain" in Zechariah 14:16-19, be our portion forever. Amen.